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Q&A with Sheron Reynolds, Curator of Art Out Loud at Chatsworth

The skinny on the lineup for 2018

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Art Out Loud at Chatsworth returns this September 21-23, with talks from starry artists, curators, collectors and writers.

Even more conducive to starry eyes is the location of the festival on the grounds of a newly renovated Chatsworth.

Q&A with Sheron Reynolds, Curator of Art Out Loud at Chatsworth Chatsworth

How has Linder Sterling’s role as the first artist in residence at Chatsworth shaped this year’s programme?

Her polysensory approach to re-imagining the past, present and future of Chatsworth has been truly enlightening for all of us here. We’ve always included in our festival programme at least one talk with strong connections to Chatsworth, but this year, partly inspired by Linder’s work here, we’ll be exploring different aspects of the house, collection, garden and park which, as the Duke says, together make up a single work of art.

As Chatsworth celebrates the completion of a 13 year (£31 million) refurbishment, the Duke and Duchess will be giving a talk about their own experiences of the work in “Living with the Builders”! We’re also featuring in this year’s programme artists with work in the permanent collection. So, this year, for the first time, we have 3 talks that put Chatsworth centre stage. Listen to our Grand Tour Podcast with Linder Sterling here.

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What variety of art talks can attendees expect?

The variety of talks this year is particularly wide and includes several which reflect an architecture theme. Buildings under the spotlight range from the historic – the houses of Bess of Hardwick (author Kate Hubbard and artist Ed Kluz) to the most contemporary, with talks by architects like Stirling Prize winner 2017, Alex de Rijke.

Other subjects include design. TV presenter and art historian Dan Cruickshank, following his recent visit to Syria, will be giving a  moving talk about the impact of the civil war on the country’s culture and heritage.

As ever, lying at the heart of Art Out Loud is art itself – and the artists who make it: our audiences, love to hear about the creative process behind the work of painters, sculptors, photographers and ceramicists. 

Are there any speakers to whom you’re particularly looking forward or that were exciting additions to the festival this year?

I’m thrilled that we have managed to persuade Lubaina Himid to take part, in what has been a whirlwind year for her after winning 2017 Turner Prize! It’s excellent that Idris Khan will be with us. He has been described as “one of the most exciting British artists of his generation” – and I’d second that! Having Peter Brookes, political cartoonist of the Times at Art Out Loud, talking about – and illustrating – the art of cartooning, will be great fun, whatever’s happening on the political front in late September!

We’re particularly pleased this year to be introducing a talk that’s been put together by an external curator. Marie Bak Mortensen, head of exhibitions at the Royal Institute of British Architects, is in conversation with 2 leading architects, each with very different practices (Alex de Rijke, project architect on Hasting Pier, which won 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize and Kate Darby, based in Herefordshire).

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How is the festival integrated into the stunning grounds of Chatsworth?

The festival sits right in the middle of Chatsworth’s grounds – on the South Lawn, which is not normally open to the public (It forms part of the Duke and Duchess’ back garden!) and was described by Matthew Parris when he was a speaker at Art Out Loud as a “magical setting”. Art Out Loud ticket holders are free to explore the public garden throughout the day. 

What is there for kids at the festival?

Children are welcome to attend all talks (child tickets are available)–  but there’s one talk dedicated to children and families. This is on the Sunday of the festival, given by sisters Jacky Klein (art historian, TV broadcaster, commissioning editor) and Suzy Klein (BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 presenter) and based on the book they have written together, ‘What Is Contemporary Art? A Children’s Guide’. It will be a lively, fun-packed and interactive romp through the often-bewildering world of contemporary art.

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